What Does LeBron Owe You?
According to Wilbon and several others I've heard recently, Lebron James 'owes' it to you and the NBA to participate in the NBA slam-dunk competition. He has to 'be like Mike' and save the league by doing a wacky 360 degree dunk through his legs while on fire or something.
Nonsense! No one is ever going to 're-create' Jordan's career step-by-step. Lebron James is good, in fact, he's the most amazing overall player I've seen since Jordan, but trying to plug him into public relations stunts that worked 20 years ago is silly. When Jordan competed in the slam dunk competition, dunking was still kind of a novelty. Aside from Dr. J, the only people who dunked were big clumsy centers like Bill Walton who only dunked because taking a jump shot from 0 feet was still a little too risky.
But today, thanks to circus entertainers like Cedric Ceballos and Dee Brown, the dunk represents a lot more of what's wrong about the game of basketball than what's right. About halfway through most dunks, I start thinking of other things, "Where did I park my car?", "Did I leave the iron on?", "Oh, he made it. Good for him.".
Lebron owes the NBA nothing but the incredible team game he's brought back to the league. Showcasing his individual abilities is fun to watch for a few seconds, but really only represents about 10% of what he's got.